Wednesday, 8 November 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
128. Mr. Gogarty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the plans in place to allocate more staff to Rathcoole Garda station, particularly community gardaí; his plans to extend the opening hours of the station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36757/06]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): I have been informed by the Garda authorities, who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that the personnel strength (all ranks) of An Garda Síochána increased to a record 12,762 on Friday, 8 September, 2006, following the attestation of 249 new members. This compares with a total strength of 10,702 (all ranks) as at 30 June, 1997 and represents an increase of 2,060 (or 19%) in the personnel strength of the Force during that period. The induction of 280 new Garda recruits to the Garda College on 6 November, 2006 has resulted in a combined strength, of both attested Gardaí and recruits in training, of 14,137. The Garda Budget now stands at €1.3 billion, a 13% increase on 2005 and an 85% increase since 1997 in real terms.
I have been further informed by the Garda authorities that Rathcoole Garda Station forms part of the Dublin Metropolitan Region West Division. The personnel strength of the Dublin Metropolitan Region West Division as at 31 December, 1997 was 513 (all ranks). The personnel strength of the Dublin Metropolitan Region as at 7 November, 2006 was 692 (all ranks). This represents an increase of 179 (or 34%) in the number of personnel allocated since that date.
The Garda authorities state that the personnel strength of Rathcoole Garda Station as at 31 December, 1997 was 11. The personnel strength of Rathcoole Garda Station as at 7 November, 2006 was 23 (all ranks). This represents an increase of 12 (or 109%) in the number of personnel allocated since that date.
Local Garda management reports that there is currently one Community Garda attached to Rathcoole Garda Station. Local Garda management are satisfied that the policing requirements of the Rathcoole Sub-District are adequately met by the existing available resources attached to Rathcoole Garda Station.
Local Garda management also reports that there are no plans to extend the opening times of Rathcoole Garda Station. The station is currently open from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm daily. The extension of the opening hours would necessitate the employment of additional personnel on indoor administrative duties who may be more effectively employed on outdoor policing duties.
It is the responsibility of Garda management to allocate personnel to and within Divisions on a priority basis in accordance with the requirements of different areas. These personnel allocations are determined by a number of factors including demographics, crime trends, administrative functions and other operational policing needs. Garda management state that such allocations are continually monitored and reviewed along with overall policing arrangements and operational strategy. This ensures that optimum use is made of Garda resources, and that the best possible service is provided to the public.
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